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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Car Reviews arrow Mercedes-Benz: Then and Now
Mercedes-Benz: Then and Now PDF Print E-mail

With more than a century of history behind it, Mercedes-Benz has throughout its various incarnations, prided itself in one thing: the pursuit of excellence. A premium brands so far above others, it stands as a beacon for supreme luxury and quality

It is sometimes difficult to pin-point the exact date the motor car was invented. In 1806 a major in the Swiss army attempted to use a gas-powered engine to drive a vehicle. The unwieldy machine managed to demolish a wall - possibly the world's first motor accident - but the army officer was granted a patent for a ?motorised vehicle driven by a gas engine'. In 1860, Frenchman Etienne Lenoir designed a gas-powered vehicle which became the first to run properly, and in 1876 Nikolaus August Otto produced the first four-stroke engine, He also designed an electric ignition system that was patented in 1884.

However, the French adhere to the belief that Edouard Delamare was the inventor of the motor car, but it was the Germans that perfected the design, with one Karl Benz being granted a patent in January 1886 for a ?vehicle powered by a gas engine whose gas is produced by fuel gasification by means of a device carried on the vehicle'.

By September of that year Benz' company, Benz & Cie Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik, had produced a motorised vehicle which was widely reported. The Mannheim newspaper Generalanzeiger said at the time: "We believe this vehicle will have a promising future ..."

Gottlieb Daimler was employed by Nikolaus Otto in a senior position for a number of years, but left to establish his own company with Wilhelm Maybach. And this is where the pattern emerges: Daimler, Benz and Maybach.

Wilhelm Maybach was Gottlieb Daimler's partner in early motor cars, but left the company in 1907 to develop airship engines for Count Zeppelin. During the First World War, Maybach built engines for the Zeppelins as well as for Gotha bombers, but it was his son Karl Wilhelm Maybach that created the famous luxury motor cars.

After the war, the factory was forbidden to build aero engines and instead made engines for cars and trucks. In 1921 Karl launched the first Maybach passenger car. Exhibited at the Berlin motor show, the Maybach featured a 5.7 litre, six cylinder engine with light alloy pistons and dual ignition.

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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